Letter to the Editor: The Rasmuson Foundation’s new money-grab

The Rasmuson Foundation is a private, philanthropic organization currently guided by third- and fourth-generation Rasmusons, and includes Sen. Natasha von Imhof. Its mission is to promote a better life for Alaskans, a worthy and noble goal.

However, the Rasmuson Foundation’s latest attempt to abolish the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council and divert its $188 million to a private organization is unworthy, dishonorable and riddled with conflicts of interest.

The Trustee Council was formed to oversee restoration of the injured ecosystem using a $900 million civil settlement. It consists of six state and federal officials, is advised by the public and the scientific community, and is accountable to the public.

For some reason, this isn’t good enough for the Rasmuson Foundation. They formed a “Think Tank” which then dreamed up a scheme to get their hands on every last remaining dollar of EVOS funds.

Nothing is gained by this power play to funnel our public money into private coffers.

The Trustee Council’s $188 million belongs to the public, as does the strict, scientific, and public process that the Trustee Council has followed for the last 30 years.

The Think Tank outlines only five years for public comment and annual reports on the distribution of funds.

The public had no idea of the Rasmuson Foundation’s secret proposal to cash out and end this important government restoration program until Rick Steiner’s recently published piece brought it to light. So much for transparency.

It’s time for the Rasmuson Foundation to leave well enough alone and stop this hostile takeover. The Trustee Council needs to continue their essential and vital restoration of Prince William Sound without political interference and with required public accountability measures fully intact.

Andrée McLeod

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